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Warning over $1,500 scam email: ‘Banking error’

Aussies looking to make some cash are being targeted through this scam.

A composite image of people sitting at a cafe and the scam email which claims a $1,500 payment needs to be made.
Aussies trying to sell their good are being targeted by scammers. (Source: Getty / Scamwatch)

Aussies who are attempting to sell their car are being targeted by criminals who are posing as interested buyers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch warned Aussies selling their vehicles on the popular CarSales site to be cautious.

“Selling a car on a platform like Carsales? Careful of scammers pretending to be genuine buyers,” Scamwatch said.

“They'll say they've overpaid you due to a banking error or for courier costs and ask you to pay back the difference. They may even send a fake invoice. Cease all contact with them.”

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The fake invoice will claim the recipient needs to pay a courier fee of $1,500 and provide proof of payment before the money can be disbursed into their account.

“Get back to us with the transfer receipt to verify that you are the legitimate seller, and confirm the courier fee is paid,” the scam email reads.

“We shall verify and your account will be credited promptly once the confirmation is received.”

A copy of the invoice scam.
Scamwatch has warned Aussies not to fall for this classified scam. (Source: Scamwatch)

What are these scams?

These kinds of scams are known as ‘classified’ scams and often target people buying or selling goods over classified websites.

“Scammers may make up stories such as needing your help to pay an agent or third party for upfront costs like transportation or insurance. They may promise you reimbursement for these costs,” Scamwatch said.

“Alternatively the scammer may send a cheque for more money than the agreed sale price. The scammer will invent an excuse for the overpayment, such as to cover the fees of an agent or extra shipping costs, or that it was simply human error.”

The scammer may request a refund for the excess amount - usually through an online banking transfer, preloaded money card, or a wire transfer - before you discover that their cheque has bounced.

“In both cases, you will lose the money you gave the scammer, and if you have already sent the item you were selling, you will lose it as well,” Scamwatch said.

So far this year, Aussies have lost more than $2.4 million to classified scams.

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